The Blood Test to Diagnose Down Syndrome Goes On Sale

Why I’m iffy about the awesomeness of this new blood test for Down Syndrome:

1. First of all, I’d like to say I’m glad the technology is out there. It can have some very valuable benefits. However, I’m worried it’s going to have expecting mothers who are high-risk for babies with DS rush to get this test, only to abort them should the test come back positive. If you are one of these people and you really, honestly believe you will not be able to provide for this child, there are families out there who would love the opportunity to care for and love them no matter what. Personally, I believe every person has a purpose and a reason to be here.

2. “Sequenom wants as many women to use its test as possible. The company suggested in its launch press release that 750,000 pregnant women at “high risk” for Down syndrome should use its test every year (that’s nearly a quarter of the 4.3 million pregnancies annually in the U.S.).” (Related: Point #4) Why? Because Heaven forbid children born with DS get the chance to have loving parents, a happy life, or a purpose on this earth. Or, to give them the benefit of the doubt, (which I’d like to) to do their part to help prepare the parents of children with DS for the experience ahead and to be able to best care for their child.

2. “The Sequenom test, with the clever name MaterniT21, isn’t perfect. In more than one percent of cases of Down syndrome, the test called the fetus normal. It also called a few normal fetuses abnormal.” So, that’s not good.

3. Do you think there might be a chance that sometime in the future, there might be government legislation requiring this test in order to be serviced by an OBGYN? Would this be considered a step to “cure” (read: wipe-out) Down Syndrome?

Now, I will say that having a test like this would, ideally, be beneficial overall. No one can deny that the opportunity to be prepared for having a child with DS will only help the parents, family, and the child.  I think it’s  cool that the technology is out there, I’m simply more concerned about those that would use the test for selfish reasons such as “I don’t want to have to put up with that,” or “if my child has DS I’ll be uncomfortable and hard work,” or “I don’t want to be that person” or what have you, rather than with the intent to be prepared and able to provide the best care possible for their children. Ultimately, I can see both sides of the argument; I can see the incredible benefits this technology can have, and also I can see the downsides of those who use it for the wrong reasons, which – unfortunately – is the case for pretty much every piece of technology we have.



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